Hawkeyes Open Big Ten Play At No. 15 Ohio State

March 26, 2009

IOWA CITY – On Deck ? The University of Iowa softball team opens Big Ten play this weekend at No. 15 Ohio State. The Hawkeyes will play single games in Columbus Saturday and Sunday, both starting at 1 p.m. (CT).

Hawkeyes on the Web ? Gametracker links for all Iowa games can be found on hawkeyesports.com. The links can be accessed under the schedule tab on the home page or on the softball schedule page.

The remainder of Hawkeye softball games will be broadcast over the internet at hawkeyesports.com (for a fee). The “Listen” links can be found next to the Gametracker links. Rob Brooks enters his third season calling the action for Iowa softball.

Iowa in the Polls ? The Hawkeyes are listed as receiving votes in the latest USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and are ranked 24th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25.

Opponents in the Polls ? Six Iowa opponents are ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 polls.

UCLA (5th/4th), Arizona State (6th/9th), Northwestern (10th/8th), Michigan (12th/11th), Ohio State (15th/13th) and Florida State (19th/20th) are all ranked.

In addition, Texas is receiving votes in both polls, while Illinois is receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25. Northern Iowa is also receiving votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25.

Last Time Out ? Iowa dropped a tough, 2-1, decision at Illinois State Wednesday night.

Illinois State jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second when Abby Olsen recorded a solo home run over the right field fence.

Iowa’s senior class came through with four-straight solid at-bats in the sixth to knot the score at 1-1. Sam Heinzman singled to start the inning and was sacrificed to second by Erin Riemersma. After Quinn Morelock moved Heinzman to third on a ground out, Colleen McGlaughlin delivered a single through the left side, plating Heinzman for the game-tying run.

The Redbirds re-gained the lead at 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth. Niki Stansell recorded a leadoff double and scored one batter later on an RBI single by pitcher Amber Smith.

Iowa was unable to plate the tying run in its last at-bat, falling to 26-6 on the season.

Senior Brittany Weil took the loss and is now 13-5. She allowed one earned run on two hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. Junior Amanda Zust started the game and threw three innings, allowing one earned run on three hits with three K’s and no walks.

Junior Lindsey Digmann and sophomore Chelsey Carmody paced the Hawkeye offense with two hits each.

Call it a Pitcher’s Dual ? This weekend’s matchup against 15th-ranked Ohio State could already be called a pitcher’s dual based on statistics.

Through March 22, Iowa ranks fifth-nationally in earned run average (1.06), with Ohio State close behind in sixth (1.08).

Both teams boast two talented pitchers when it comes to Big Ten statistics, as well. Iowa’s Brittany Weil leads the conference in opponent batting average (.128) and ranks third in strikeouts (173), fourth in ERA (1.04) and tied for fourth in wins (13). Junior Amanda Zust ranks tied for fourth in wins (13), fifth in opponent batting average (.163), seventh in ERA (1.10) and 10th in K’s (87).

Ohio State’s Lindsay Bodeker leads the league in ERA (0.97) and is ninth in wins (8), while Kim Reeder is third in ERA (1.02), and sventh in both strikeouts (99) and wins (11).

Bringing Them Home ? Senior Colleen McGlaughlin not only leads the Hawkeyes in RBI, her 30 runs driven in also leads the Big Ten Conference.

McGlaughlin leads Ohio State catcher Sam Marder, who has 29 RBI on the season.

McGlaughlin has collected nearly half of her RBI in the last seven games, plating 12 runs.

Weil Getting Close to Records ? Senior Brittany Weil is close to becoming Iowa’s all-time strikeout and wins leader.

Weil is just 30 strikeouts and 14 wins away from breaking both records. She also ranks among Iowa’s career leaders in complete games (3rd), innings pitched (3rd), games pitched (4th) and shutouts (5th).

Closing in on History ? Head Coach Gayle Blevins is just 15 wins away from becoming the second-winningest coach in Division I history.

Blevins, who recently picked up her 1,200 career win March 17 against Stetson, trails former Florida State Head Coach JoAnne Graf for second place by 14 wins. Blevins’ record currently has 1,204 wins. Graf retired after a 24-year career at Florida State, recording 1,218 victories.

Senior Stepping Up ? Senior Colleen McGlaughlin came through with some big hits for Iowa last week.

In Iowa’s first game of the week against Long Island, McGlaughlin delivered a one-out grand slam in the third to help Iowa claw back from an early 3-0 deficit. McGlaughlin’s home run gave Iowa a 4-3 lead that it never relinquished, winning by a 6-3 margin.

McGlaughlin gave Iowa a comfortable 3-0 lead in extra innings at Bethune-Cookman. After seven scoreless innings, Iowa managed to plate two runs before McGlaughlin drove in the third run of the eighth inning.

Iowa once again relied on McGlaughlin for a game-winning hit, this time at Central Florida in an extra-inning marathon. With the game tied at 1-1 in the top of the 11th, McGlaughlin hit an RBI single through the left side to plate the eventual game-winning run. The Morton, IL, native capped the weekend by going 2-4 with a career-high four RBI in game two against South Dakota.

McGlaughlin also drove in the game-tying run in the sixth at Illinois State with an RBI single to left.

Weil Drafted ? Senior pitcher Brittany Weil was one of 25 NCAA softball seniors chosen in the National Professional Fastpitch (NPF) Draft Feb. 17. Weil, who wears No. 7 at Iowa, was drafted by the Akron Rachers as the seventh overall pick in the draft (second pick of the second round).

Weil, who will join the Racers once the Hawkeyes finish their 2009 season, is the fourth Hawkeye to play in the NPF, and the third since 2005 to be drafted. Stacy May and Emily Nichols were both selected in the second round of the NPF Draft by the Chicago Bandits in 2005 and 2008 respectively. Kristin Johnson was also a member of the Akron Racers from 2003-07.

McGlaughlin Up For CLASS Award ? Senior Colleen McGlaughlin is one of 30 softball student athletes nationally to be nominated for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.

The award, which stands for “Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School,” focuses on the total student-athlete. To be eligible, student-athletes must have notable accomplishments in four areas of excellence: classroom, character, community and competition.

The list of 30 candidates will be narrowed down to 10 finalists midway through the softball season. Ballots will then be distributed through a nationwide voting system and the award winner will be recognized at the 2009 NCAA Women’s College World Series.

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